As most of you know I volunteered this year at the Chicago Marathon, and if you didn’t you can go back and read about it here. During my 6 hours of volunteering I had a lot of time to reflect, people watch, and observe other runners. Which is allowing me to give you a different perspective of the race. This is not your standard race recap…so buckle up for the volunteer race recap from mile 10.5.

Chicago Marathon

I have had the joyous (maybe not at the time) unexplainable  experience of running a marathon but I was in the zone. You can read about my first one in Nashville here. During that time I was focused on the race and did not take in much around me. Standing on the sidelines, more so curb, handing out water allowed me to see a different perspective of running and made me truly appreciate the running community I am in.

Chicago Marathon Volunteer

Was I envious of the racers? Of course I was. Did I mope a little because due to injury I wasn’t able to race my scheduled fall marathon? You better believe I did. But overall I am really glad I got to have this experience because I learned a lot. Mostly, that runners are awesome. But here are some more fun things I observed and thought you guys would enjoy…

Marathon Observations from a Non-Racers Perspective 

Gatorade Water Cup

  • I now know the proper way to hold a water cup. It is all about the bottom grip and making EYE CONTACT with the runner. Note to runners: Make eye contact with the water holder if you want to receive a cup with liquid in it and not spilled all over the street.
  • I saw many drinking water techniques while running. My favorite and I think the most successful (successful measured by how much water went in there mouth and not on their face) was squeezing the top closed and then pouring the water out of the side into your mouth. Gonna try that next time.

water belt

  • Speaking of water.  Not a lot of people had water belts on. Do people not run in these anymore? For both my marathons I did but maybe I should consider just drinking at the water stops. Thoughts?
  • Lots of snot rockets. From men and woman. I was happy not to be a victim of getting hit with one of those.


  • Lots of TALL & CUTE runners. Where are they in my running groups? It might be because a lot of them were the elite runners and I would have to drop my pace down to a 5 mi pace. Not gonna happen in this lifetime.
  • I saw two victims of nipple bleeding. I can’t imaging that feels good today.
  • Suggestion: Don’t wear light colored bottoms if you think there is a chance you are going to pee yourself. Totally natural. You might just want to think your bottom choice over beforehand.


  • The wheelchair race is made up of the most impressive and inspiring athletes.
  • Grease lightening is a popular pump up song – a lot of runners started groovin’ and movie’ when this hit came on.
  • What do people write all of their body with? I hope not permeant marker?Gatorade
  • Ever wonder how they get rid of the water? Simple – just tip the table.
  • A lot of people did not wear headphones. I don’t know if this was because it was the Chicago Marathon and the crowd support is great or not, but I do not think I could run without my headphones. If I didn’t have my headphones random weird thoughts like these would consume my brain. Scary I KNOW.
  • Lots of runners taking videos. Are they really going to watch all X amount of hours back of fans yelling and sweaty bodies running?

CW-X Capris

  • Most popular running capris
  • Last but not least all of the runners were so appreciative showering the volunteers in thank you’s while they were running a marathon. No thank you runners for all the entertainment and giving me material for a blog post :)

Well that’s went through my head during the race!


  • What have you observed from running a marathon? Or from being a spectator at a marathon?